Pow-a-Rac - leak from pinion seal

My series 1 has just gone into hibernation and is now on stands in the garage. On this winters “to-do” list is to try and fix a small but persistent leak from the rack pinion seal… and yes, this isn’t the first time I’ve replaced the seal, probably 3rd or 4th in the last 20 years but this time it’s only lasted a couple of years.
A trawl through the archives (again) reveals almost 100% failure to fix this, with many spending big to get a professionally rebuilt rack ! But it seems crazy that the collective knowledge of this list hasn’t come up with a DIY solution.
On my (tall tower) rack the pinion seal is directly above the low pressure or pump return port so it should never see much pressure. The static head pressure is no more than 300mm (difference in height of pinion to pump) I know that the pinion leaks with the car stationary & engine off. On a two hour run the PAS is fine and the level doesn’t drop much so pressure does not appear to make the leakage rate worse. … It’s very frustrating !
I noticed in the archives that there was reference to changing out the old Adwest Pow-a-Rac for a later ZF unit… Can anyone confirm if this is possible and how complex it may be?
Anyone out there overcome this leaky pinion issue and can share the fix?
Thanks in hope !

Mike Badger (1973 DDS S1)

Series 1 XJ6 is not hard at all to change in the car. Just remove steering shaft pinion, remove snap ring and either use a magnet if a metal washer on top or a pick if a washer with a rubber seal. If it is to tight, crank the car and the oil pressure will pop it out. Have a catch pan in place. Installation is just a matter of working it in with a smooth screwdriver. I have one I polished the edges off so it would not have any rough edges to damage the seal. Seal available here if you don’t want to buy the whole kit: Jaguar XKE XJS XJ6 AEU-1248J Adwest Steering rack upper pinion seal. NEW | eBay

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I used to do this a few times a year in the 1980s and early 90s but I hated it when my chest caved in from laying on the fender while prodding the seal into the groove.

Thanks for the memories!

I have to comment because I am changing my tower seal for the second time. The first time, it started leaking before I started the engine. I had trouble getting the first seal in far enough for the washer on top to clear the snap ring groove. I thought maybe the washer wasn’t there in the beginning, so I just left it out and put the snap ring right over the seal. NOW, your comment is a revelation to me because nowhere in any instructions or videos I have found, is there any mention of pushing the seal down. I will try this with a new seal…THANKS!!!

Living with a Classic has a good video on YouTube of this replacement, though the car in question for that vid is an XJ12 and he removes the entire rack. A couple details: Use compressed air to pop the seal out, and use a hollow drift (appropriate sized socket) to drive in the new seal.

Cheers,
Matt